One former NASA scientist is claiming that the agency’s employees are crippled by the “fear and anxiety” brought on by the Trump administration and its adamant denial of climate change.
“Nasa’s talking point is that it’s business as usual, but that’s not true,” former NASA science communicator, Laura Tenenbaum, told The Guardian. People inside the agency are concerned Trump will cut climate science funding. There is a fear and anxiety there and the outcome has been chaos.”
The climate change data and research meant for general public knowledge has come to a near halt under President Trump’s administration, Tenenbaum claimed, noting she received a warning to stay away from phrases like “global warming” when posting on social media or speaking with the press. She said drafts of blog posts on coal plants becoming solar plants and other “reasons to be positive about NASA” were thrown out by other officials who feared retribution from the new President.
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The scientist, who left the agency this past October after a decade-long career at the space agency, said an “arduous review process” of NASA blog and Facebook posts and all tweets she wrote on their main account about the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California began a month after Trump’s January 2017 inauguration.
“I was told verbally by media relations it was because with Trump as President, climate change is now a ‘sensitive subject,’” Tenenbaum told The Guardian. “There was confusion about what to do now we have a president who doesn’t believe in climate change. Everyone was scrambling. It was chaos.”
Tenenbaum once wrote for the NASA blog “Earth Right Now,” which has seen a marked decline in posts since her departure. Since her last published piece in August 2017, the blog has only two originally-produced stories on it.
The Guardian reported before Trump won the White House, NASA generated content for the public on its Facebook page regularly, posting 122 articles in August of 2016 alone. The agency then posted 53 times in January 2017 and is down to 21 times in March of this year, resulting in far less communication with followers and interaction with citizens.
In April 2016, during the Obama administration, there were over 100,000 likes, shares, and comments on the NASA Facebook page. In April 2018, that number plummeted to 7,000.
The posts made on NASA’s various platforms are, although, consistent with global scientists’ findings and research that point to a warming planet and the possible repercussions if little or no action is taken. And the agency claims it is continuing on with its work without interference.
“NASA Communications has not received any directive to change how we communicate about agency research,” a NASA spokesman told the site, “which includes climate change.”
But it is no secret that President Trump and his appointed Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke are all skeptics on realities of climate change. They’ve each repeatedly denied humankind’s role and have reversed Obama administration policies dedicated to conservation research. President Trump infamously pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement in June 2017 and has called climate change “bulls--t” and a “hoax” created by China.